Mo’ Chickens Mo’ Problems

The Chicks are now 3 weeks old and have finished their first 50lb bag of food.  I am desperate to get them outside into the chicken tractor where they’ll have access to a larger container of food and water, as well as grass and more space.   The problem is that it’s 60 degrees at night and I don’t think they can handle that kind of temperature yet.   The box they’re currently in ranges from 75-80 degrees, depending on if they’re under the heat lamp.    Running a heat lamp on a 100 foot extension chord to my field seems like a bad idea.   The chicks are going through 3 1 quart Ball-jars of food daily, and I’m refilling their 1/2 gallon waterer almost every day too.

3 weeks old

3 weeks old

 

This morning I noticed that one of the chicks has a problem with its legs.   A little Googling seems to indicate that it’s likely to be “Spraddle Leg” where the chick’s legs splay out like he’s slipping on ice.   The chick looks like he’s sitting back lounging on his butt.  There are of course remedies that chicken-owners perform on Spraddle Legged chicks, but they seem to be mostly for young (few-day-old) birds.   Nevertheless, my wife and I tried to tape the chicken’s legs together so that it’s forced to stand on it’s legs instead of letting the legs splay out and sitting on its butt.  Although we used the same fancy semi-stick stretchy bandage that we had bought for Oscar (our Brussels Griffon), and secured it with medical tape, it still fell off after 15 minutes.

The affected chick is one of the larger ones in the flock, so I think I’m just gonna see how he does for now.  In other words, he’s not starving – he’s getting his share of food.   I quarantined him to another box for the time being to see if that helps at all.

I think that a change of surface (from wood chips to grass in my yard) wouldn’t hurt, but I am flummoxed by the temperature issue.   Help me out chicken raisers – how can I get these chicks into the chicken tractor (ie, not a coop where I can put a heat lamp) without hurting them due to cold exposure?  The next two days’ forecast looks like 90 degree days and 70 degree low at nights, but the next two nights after that are showing a low forecast of 56 degrees.

Mo’ Chickens, Mo’ Problems.

-KD

 

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